When in Thailand you just can’t get around the delicious local dishes. Asian and western food is an option they do serve it, but if you like food that has authentic tastes of Thailand, there are some local dishes that you shouldn’t miss. It can be very overwhelming looking at the massive menus in most Thai eateries, so in this post, we’re going to help you to figure out 12 Thai dishes you can’t go wrong!
We’ll start with the most important thing that you need to know when you order a meal in Thailand. Some of the dishes are spicy, or even really spicy. We are not talking about a spicy tickle on your tongue, but that is feeling when it seems you’re eating lava spicy. If you’re not spicy lovers, we would recommend asking for a milder version. Don’t let the spiciness scare you off when trying local Thai food, since this often heightens other flavors too, and in the long run, you’ll get used to the spicier food, and in the end, it is all worth it!
If you’re seafood lovers, Thailand has a lot of amazing seafood dishes! You can find unlimited great seafood in any fine restaurant or roadside eateries. Many Thai dishes also can be ordered with chicken (gai) or pork (moo) interchanged as well as with all kinds of vegetable variations.
1. Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Thai Soup with Shrimp)
This is a delicious Thai soup with shrimp as the main ingredient. So if you are not into seafood, jump ahead to the next dish! For all of you seafood lovers, you’re having a great start to your Thai food experience. This is a clear soup with lemongrass and is often seen as a hot and sour soup. So if you are not into spicy, don’t forget to ask for a “mild” version.
2. Pad Thai (Stir Fried Noodles)
Pad Thai is easily translated in stir-fried noodles. They are often served as street food and at local eateries. They do serve it in restaurants, but in our experience, the cheaper versions of this dish are ALWAYS better! Pad Thai can be eaten with seafood or chicken, or as a veggie dish. Pad Thai is NOT spicy, it is more sweet and sour flavored.
3. Noodle Soup
The title says it all, noodle soups. There are many varieties of this soup, main choices can often be made between chicken, pork, beef, seafood, or veggie. My preference always goes to the veggie noodle soup, preferably one focusing on extra mushrooms!
4. Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)
This dish combines all five tastes; sour, hot, salty, savory and sweet and mixes it together. In English, this dish can be translated to ‘green papaya salad’. Throughout cities in Thailand, this dish is one of the staples of street food cooking and dining. It’s fresh, easy to prepare, and tastes wonderful. There are again many different variations of this meal, some including fermented fish sauce or salted preserved egg.
5. Kao Phad (Fried Rice)
The famous Thai fried rice is a favorite for almost all locals and tourists. The meal usually includes some kind of meat, either chicken, shrimp, crab, pork, or beef. Together with egg, garlic, onions and a delicious seasoning, this is easy to go to meal that can be found at many street vendors.
6. Curry Crab
When in Bangkok, Curry Crab is one the dishes that you shouldn’t miss! The most famous curry crab is the one from famous Somboon Seafood restaurant, who specialize on Fried Curry Crab, but honestly, you can also find curry crab at any seafood restaurant with a taste that is not less delicious, or even better. The curry sauce is cooked with egg and it’s so delicious, even when you’re done with the crabs, you just want to finish up the remaining sauce on the plate. If you are lazy and do not want to dirty your hands, you can order the one which comes with just crab meat, without the shells.
7. Gai Tod (Deep Fried Chicken)
There’s no secret about fried chicken, in Thailand people love it just as much as any other country in the world. Fried chicken is available at anywhere from sit down restaurants to street stalls that offer fried chicken to go. The best part of Gai Tod is, it’s so freaking crispy topped with fried Thai garlic to give you that extra garlic flavor and crunch. To give fried chicken a little more of a unique Thai flavor, it’s often served with a sweet and sour, slightly spicy dipping sauce. It’s usually eaten with Khao Niao or sticky rice.
8. Goong Pao (Grilled Shrimp)
In Thailand, you’re able to eat shrimp regularly without breaking the budget! While shrimp are fantastic in a variety of Thai dishes, sometimes it’s nice just to eat them straight roasted over hot coals. Peel the shrimp, dip them in the garlicky sauce, and you’ve got a sensational bite! Besides the shrimp, you also must try the jumbo water prawn in Ayutthaya!
9. Gai Hoer Bai Toey (Thai Pandan Wrapped Chicken)
This is a Thai pandan wrapped chicken. As a popular Thai dishes, Gai Hoer Bay Toey is must try. It’s easy to find and commonly available at Thai restaurant. The chicken was cooked to perfection in pandan leaves, it’s very juicy and tender with a fragrant aroma.
10. Khao Man Gai (Chicken Rice)
Originating from Hainan, the combination of boiled chicken over rice cooked with chicken fat has become famous throughout Asia. The trick lies within the sauce which holds the power to make or break the dish. Even though it’s more popular in Singapore, but you should try the famous chicken rice in Pratunam and Chinatown area in Bangkok.
11. Goong Ob Woon Sen (Glass Noodles cooked with Shrimp and Soy Sauce)
Goong ob woon sen is the agglomeration of clear mung bean noodles cooked in ginger with prawns. Hints of coriander and white pepper give it its signature taste. You can order this from any Thai Chinese seafood restaurant like Somboon Seafood or Ko Dang Talay in Asiatique.
12. Pad Pak Boong (Stir Fried Morning Glory)
Morning glory is Bangkok’s favorite vegetable and you’ll know a restaurant is really bad in Bangkok if they can’t manage to get the stir fried morning glory with chilies and big cloves of garlic. You can easily find this at any seafood restaurant in Thailand.
Well, that’s the summary of our Thai food recommendation and truly hope it will give you ideas about exactly what to eat when you visit Thailand! Enjoying Thai food (and street food) is one of the most memorable culinary experiences for us. Most dishes can be tweaked to personal satisfaction. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and enjoy the culinary experience in Thailand!
Thailand Travel Series:
- THAILAND] AMAZING THAILAND TOURISM YEAR 2018 – Open to the New Shades of Thailand
- [THAILAND] UNIQUE THAI LOCAL EXPERIENCE – The Million Shades of Thailand
- [THAILAND] THAI GASTRONOMY & FOOD CULTURE IN THAILAND
- [THAILAND] 12 DISHES YOU MUST TRY IN THAILAND
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